Mary L. Gillaspy, MLS, MS
Formerly with Health Learning Centers, Northwestern Memorial Hospital
February 2011; Updated by Nora St. Peter October 2013
Consumer health information services are staffed in a variety of ways. Staffing depends on several factors, including where the service is located, scope of the services offered, and available budget. “Solo" services offer assistance either within a larger entity, such as an academic health sciences library or hospital library, or as a stand-alone service in a hospital or clinic. Many public libraries also provide consumer health information resources.
CHIS entities that offer comprehensive services, whatever the venue, are best staffed in a multidisciplinary way. Possibilities include librarians (medical, special, or public), health educators, nurses, social workers, and public health professionals. Dedicated, well-trained volunteers can also be a valuable resource when staffing a CHIS.
Every situation is unique and will require its own mix of personnel. Any CHIS, however, will require certain personality traits and skill sets in its employees. Personnel should have strong interpersonal skills, ability to assess information need and learning style, and a penchant for lifelong learning. According to Mayer (2010), “Most importantly, individuals who choose this kind of work must be compassionate. They are motivated to bring comfort to others using information as a tool to tackle the problems faced by patients in a health care setting.”  Regardless of professional training, everyone working in a CHIS should know the resources in both the collection and the community so they can refer patrons appropriately.
In hospital or clinic settings, CHIS personnel are well advised to engage with nurses and other health professionals who deliver patient education. Consumer health information and patient education are complementary services and need not compete. Still, in places where relationships have not been established and maintained, tension exists between the groups, as noted by Kennedy, Kiken, and Shipman. 
This section offers sample volunteer training programs, a salary survey, "The Librarian’s Role in the Provision of Consumer Health Information and Patient Education," and related materials.
 Mayer S. (2010). Professional development in a patient education resource center. Journal of Hospital Librarianship. 10(4):380-386.
 Kennedy MG, Kiken L, and Shipman JP. (2008). Addressing underutilization of consumer health information resource centers: a formative study. Journal of the Medical Library Association. 96(1):42–49.